|Gloomy year ahead for tourism|
|Thursday, 03 June 2010 17:05|
THE Namibian tourism industry has not improved its performances in terms of tourist arrivals as the country continues to witness slumps in international tourist arrivals Informanté can report. Both the Minister of Tourism and Environment, Netumbo-Nandi Ndaitwah and the Chief Executive Officer of the Namibian Tourism Board, Digu //Noabeb this week confirmed the country is experiencing a slump in tourist arrivals coupled with various challenges.
"The immediate economic outlook for tourism in 2010 looks difficult. This year Namibia is likely to see a decrease in tourism growth," said //Noabeb.
According to the Government and NTB, Namibia will experience the slump despite the influx of tourists to the Sadc region and the situation is expected to recover in 2011.
The anticipated nose-dive in tourist arrivals in the country are in sharp contrast with the poor revenue collection which stood at a meagre N$43,8m in 2008.
Government admitted that the Soccer World Cup on the doorstep of Southern African Development Community has not done much to improve the fate of the country's struggling industry which is among the highest foreign currency earners.
The poor state of affairs within the next few months to the end of the year will see the Tourism Ministry and the NTB calling for a robust marketing strategy within the Sadc region and the world at large to increase the market base for Namibia's tourism products.
While the country's tourism custodians are faced with a realistic challenge of dwindling tourist arrivals, Noabeb said the country should take the challenge as an opportunity to consolidate on the different programmes offered to reach out to the international community.
"I can assure you of our commitment to maintain a competitive environment through diversifying tourism products to enable more new entrants in the tourism industry. This will sustain current markets by remaining visible but not oblivious of the fact to develop more source markets in the region and other continents."
//Noabeb said the planned turn around in tourism will not be an easy feat but would need commitment from all stakeholders including the private sector.
Nandi-Ndaitwah also corroborated the NTB chief's sentiments calling for a road map to turn around the fortunes of tourism in Namibia.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said the Sadc region has vast resources capable of luring tourists from across the globe if they are well marketed.
"At this point a new tourism upturn is required and this explains why the NTB are driving that course of action, I am convinced that the time is right to stimulate consumer and travel trade interest," said Nandi-Ndaitwah.
The negative performance in the tourism sector comes at the stroke of the tourism expo which has seen different operators converging in Windhoek to solicit for prospective deals with the local companies.
Minister Nandi-Ndaitwah said she expects Namibian tourism companies to secure maximum rewards from the Expo and her Ministry will help in facilitating trade links between the players.
She called for strengthening of domestic and regional tourism to avert the problems caused by the current slump in visitors.
She also did not have kind words for operators who are bent on profiteering during the period of the world cup saying the country's players have to be determined in dispatching quality services than netting on the vulnerability of visitors.
Nandi-Ndaitwah commended the country's airliner, Air Namibia for coming to the rescue of the troubled sector by offering discount air tickets during the world cup duration.